Driving a car is not a unique experience. In fact, in the United States alone, there are over 250 million cars on the road which is mindboggling given our population. So you would think that being a valet means we would meet all types of different people and while it’s true that valets rarely have the opportunity to really get to know somebody, you would be surprised just how often our clients exhibit the same traits time and time again. So here are the five types of drivers we park cars for:
1. The Show-off
There’s always that one guy that is driving a Benz and knows it. And he wants you to know it too. This is more amusing than anything (hey, I would show off my car if it was something to look at too!) because show offs tend to be the best tippers. It’s even better when they’re with friends or a significant other because then they really feel the need to splurge.
2. The “I don’t trust you” Driver
This is the one that hovers over you the way your father did the first time you took out the family car alone. He/she will remind you which one is the brake pedal (thanks) and to roll up the windows (thanks, again) and also that his car is worth more than your life (uh… no thanks). It’s not always verbal too, sometimes it’s just those subtle looks and stares you receive as you start to drive away.
3. The Forgetful Fool
Then there’s the one that doubles back because he/she forget the keys or the map or the iPod. You’re careful not to drive away too quickly only to be hailed back because this driver needs to get something out of the trunk again.
4. The Clueless Driver
Okay, I get it. It’s bound to be someone’s first time using a valet service, but you won’t believe some of the things I have been asked. One driver asked me if she gets to park his own car (um, we call that a parking lot, sir). Another asked to see my driver’s license as if someone could get hired without getting checked. Bizarre and sometimes a great way to break up the doldrums of a work day.
5. The Nice Guy
And finally, we have the nice guy. Thankfully, this is most people most of the time. The Nice Guy is the one that thanks you personally, knows your name, shakes your hand and gives you a smile. These are the types of drivers that you want to serve.
And there we have it. Working as a valet has its perks for sure. One thing I’ve always appreciated is just how well I’ve gotten to know regulars. We share jokes and weekly pleasantries and I truly enjoy my work with them. Sometimes it isn’t all about the tip (although I do support the idea that we should all know how much to tip a valet just because that’s who we make a living), but the respect and comraderie of the job.